As a tech evangelist, I thought I’d share some notes on a seemingly tough weekend for anyone who uses the World Wide Web. I am going to suspect the nightly news will find this difficult to explain, so I’ll give it shot.
If you had technology problems this weekend, you’re not alone. Amazon-owned AWS (Amazon Web Services) experienced an outage that caused literally 1% of all servers to go dark. You may not have heard of AWS, but it’s used to store and provide servers to the likes of nearly everyone. It’s outage, which began Friday night and continued into Saturday, forced Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and others offline for several hours. Once the lights came back, is took most of Saturday morning to recover.
As if having 1% of the internet down for several hours wasn’t bad enough to rock the ship, Saturday night’s “leap second” put the rest of the web into a tail spin. In brief, the atomic clocks of the world needed to skip a second to get back in-sync with Earth’s rotation. The big deal here is that MANY servers and their application rely on time sync to function. (Without time, a computer can’t work… remember Y2K anyone?) Some servers needed reboots, some needed new code, others are still being worked on. The biggest effect that I could find, and is not yet reported much on in the Blogosphere, is telecommunications. Carriers around the world found their phone calls drop and calls not completing all over.
As Monday begins, things seem to be getting back to normal… but it stands to show just how reliant we are on the tech we don’t see as we are the tech we hold in our hands.
For extended reading, check out this great article by Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/07/leap-second-bug-wreaks-havoc-with-java-linux/
Simple Phone Co.
(Photo credit: Flickr’s alexbrn)